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Jazz Articles

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Jennifer Bellor

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About Jennifer Bellor: Las Vegas-based composer Jennifer Bellor blends contemporary jazz, classical, and popular styles. Her works have been performed by Washington National Opera, Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, UNLV Jazz Ensemble, and many others in the United States and abroad. She earned a 2013 DownBeat Award for her composition “Midnight Swim" for big band in the original composition/orchestrated work category at the graduate college level. Her composition Noir ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Horace Silver: The United States of Mind – Revisited

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At what point did Blue Note Records jump the shark? Is there a single moment when Blue Note stopped being the world's greatest purveyor of jazz and instead became an irrelevant producer of schlock? Truth is, it was a long, slow slide. In the 1950s, Blue Note was the greatest source of hard bop. In the 1960s, it produced the best soul-jazz on earth. And then, one day in the 1970s--poof! It was all gone. Where did it ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Piano & More: Rich Halley 5, Casey Golden Trio, Jeff Denson Quartet, Fred Hersch Trio, Peter Erskine Trio, & Sirius Quartet

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An assortment of striking jazz/improvisation recordings. Three of them are piano trios--each with their own unique character--but two of them have no piano, or any other harmonic instrument. Rich Halley 5 The Outlier Pine Eagle Records 2016 Tenor saxophonist Rich Halley's longstanding quartet with trombonist Michael Vlatkovich, bassist Clyde Reed and drummer Carson Halley--last heard on Eleven (Pine Eagle Records, 2015)--becomes a quintet with the addition of reed player Vinny Golia. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sundae + Mr. Goessl: Makes My Heart Sway

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I admit it. I am raving mad for the Great American Songbook, particularly from for the first three decades of the 20th Century. That same madness extends to acts specializing in this repertoire. Recently pianist Mike Jones further established himself as keeper of the roaring '20s flame with his exceptional trio recording, Roaring (Capri Records, 2016). Another equally successful group specializing in this music of the front end of the last century is the duo, Sundae + ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alejandro Vargas: AMa AZa LaNdO

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Music seems to be a matter of play as much as craft for Alejandro Vargas Rodríguez. The Cuban (now Spain-based) pianist shows plenty of chops throughout this whole recording, but they're often equalled or surpassed by the spirit of almost childlike joy that runs through it, as evidenced by the freeform playfulness of the track titles. (The title AMa AZa LaNdO, for example, is itself a playful anagram of “A Mano Alzada"--meaning something that's done freehand.) The piano work is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George DeLancey: George DeLancey

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During the golden age of the big bands, composers wrote with the entire ensemble as a singular voice, with the soloist (and solos) connected to the concept of the song as a whole. The leading exponent of this era was Duke Ellington, whose writing was built around that awareness; and his songs have withstood the test of time. Listening to bassist George DeLancey on his self-titled debut release, one cannot help but think of the Duke, and the fine art ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gil Evans: The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix

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Out of all the myriad of tribute albums dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, this would have to be the most authentic and genuine. Evans and Hendrix had spoken on numerous occasions about working together, Jimi having even asked the legendary jazz arranger to teach him how to read and write music, thus liberating the guitarist from the burden of having to record everything on tape. But their friendship might never have happened were it not for producer Alan Douglas, who had ...

INTERVIEWS

Ron Carter: Always at the Center of the Action

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Great jazz bassists can always be identified by the fact that you really listen to them! A good jazz bassist keeps good time and gets the chords right, but a great bassist, going as far back as Jimmy Blanton, Scott LaFaro, Charlie Haden, or Jimmy Garrison, catches your ear because you're surprised and moved by what they do. They aren't just keeping time but creating new music. They are at the center of the action. Ron Carter is ...


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